Fitz and the Tantrums misses opportunities

Written By Mya Burns, Copy Editor

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
Fitz and the Tantrums perform at a concert.

Fitz and the Tantrums recently released their fourth studio album, “All of the Feels.” This album continues the infectious, upbeat sound that the pop-rock group has cultivated since their formation in 2008. From the title track to the end of the album, most of the songs are about loving yourself, loving others and disconnecting from technology for long enough to make genuine connections with those around you.

Although the sound of this album is fun enough that it can entice you to listen to the album from start to finish, that might just be because all of the songs blend together. This album did something, but it’s unclear what it was trying to accomplish in the end other than an upbeat attempt at political commentary that ends up falling short of anything but a passing reference.

From the first track to the eighth song out of the 17 songs on the album, the lyrics and upbeat tunes seem to blend together into an overall pleasant experience. However, the ninth song on the album, “OCD,” curdled this pleasant listening experience. This song is about “ … when you sat there tirelessly organizing your CD collection to the point of obsession, trying to curate the perfect playlist to impress her,” according to lead singer Michael Fitzpatrick in an interview with billboard about the album. However, for those that suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, his comparison comes off as ignorant as opposed to poetic and romantic.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, recurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over … People with OCD may have symptoms of obsessions, compulsions, or both. These symptoms can interfere with all aspects of life, such as work, school and personal relationships.” Something that interferes with the lives of those who suffer from it should not be used as a lyrical device to express love; in 2019, this seems like a strange, almost blatantly ignorant choice.

The album continues from “SuperMagik,” a pop like love song, to “Hands Up,” a song that Fitzpatrick said is about the darkness of the news and the need to stay positive through the barrage of negativity that we receive on our phones and televisions every day. Again, this song falls flat. Fitzpatrick sings in the pre-chorus, “Staying up all night with the monsters, reading off their teleprompters,” singing about the anchors that deliver the bad news. Although this song claims to be about something very serious, this song is just as upbeat and surface level as the rest of the album.

This theme continues into the song “Kiss the Sky.” Fitzpatrick claims that this song is about gun culture in the United States. However, gun violence, gun laws or anything relating to the current atmosphere surrounding guns in the U.S. is not referenced anywhere in the entire song. For a topic as controversial and relevant as gun control and “gun culture,” one would imagine that this song would be an opportunity for Fitz and the Tantrums to take a stance or at least take the position of an observer from the outside looking in. This didn’t happen in this song, and while the song is musically fun to listen to, it is a missed opportunity to do something powerful with this track and album.

Overall, this album is musically very fun and great to listen to. However, if you give the lyrics of this album more than a second to sink in, you begin to realize all of the missed opportunities for powerful work that Fitz and the Tantrums didn’t use. Artists don’t always have to take a stance in their work. But, if you are going to claim that songs you’ve created are about topics as serious and pressing as current events, the impact of technology on our society and gun control, then take a stance. Next time, Fitz and the Tantrums should leave out their attempt at commentary altogether instead of including what sounds like an afterthought of a statement.